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5 Open Science practices that improve reproducibility & support trust in science

Written by Lindsay Morton

Demonstrating reproducibility shows integrity, inspires trust and respect, and encourages reuse. That means you’ll receive more attention for each individual article, exert a greater impact on your research community, and contribute to a more efficient research ecosystem overall. Here are five steps you can take to improve the reproducibility of your research.

  1. Share Open Methods

Reproducibility is in the details. It’s difficult to reproduce results—much less adapt a methodology for reuse—based on the information in a research article alone. Whether your methods include protocols, code, or something else, making them accessible inspires trust, facilitates reuse, and extends the life of the work.

  1. Fully document and report materials

Materials are just as important to reproducibility as the procedures, protocols, and analytical tools used in conducting a study. From human specimens to microbes, the specific identity and provenance of samples can profoundly impact outcomes. In the life sciences, the MDAR checklist provides researchers with a framework for capturing and reporting these details.

  1. Post Open Data in a public repository

Open data provides the details necessary for researchers to validate, replicate and reproduce one another’s results. Posting a FAIR-compliant dataset in a public repository improves discoverability and ensures your data remains accessible as a permanent part of the scientific record.

  1. Publish complementary or “scooped” research

When different research groups achieve similar results around the same time, it reinforces the validity of both studies. That makes both investigations well worth sharing.

  1. Conduct and publish replication and validation studies

Similarly, researchers who take the time to validate, replicate, and reanalyze previous work are providing a valuable service―one which can underscore the rigor of the original research, add nuance and deepen understanding, or help to correct the scientific record if necessary. 

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